Albrecht Altdorfer


The luxurious enhancement of this drawing, with pen and ink and opaque white watercolor on an embellished ground, suggests that it was made as an autonomous work rather than as a preparatory study for a painting. It was probably made to be given or sold to collectors.

The drawing depicts a profane subject: the encounter of a pair of lovers who sit beside a small fountain from which water flows into a streamlet. Their horse is tethered to the splintered trunk of a tree; in the distance, behind the dense wood, is a castle flanked by a craggy range of mountains.

Albrecht Altdorfer
German; ca. 1480–1538
Two Lovers by a Fountain in a Landscape, ca. 1509–10
Pen and black ink and white opaque watercolor on brown
prepared paper